I read your HoweyCoin link yesterday right after reading this piece, and that probably contributed to my confusion about whether it was real. Interest rates seemingly beginning to rise, so hopefully that will put a stop to this sort of silliness.
I've been wondering about this for a while. As an outsider I've always assumed there must be something to these business models that I just don't have knowledge about, but it's still seemed like something is off.
1) Come up with an idea dependent on monopoly control of the market
2) Spend like a sailor on leave until you have monopoly control of the market
(3) is always some variation of "once the customer has absolutely no other options we'll jack up the price until we make back our money times ONE MILLION BAJILLION PERCENT" without acknowledging that the only reason you have the market in the first place is your investors are subsidizing your prices so you can undercut and murder the competition.
Uber lost four and a half billion dollars last year paying people $3.50 an hour to drive their cars around with strangers in them. Their pathway to profit is unclear at best.